University of Maryland Art Gallery Presents the 2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition

By Editorial Team on April 25, 2018

Wed, 25 April 2018 - Fri, 25 May 2018

Photo courtesy of University of Maryland Art Gallery.
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 25 from 5pm to 7pm

From April 25 through May 25, 2018, the University of Maryland Art Gallery presents the 2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition, an exhibition that marks the culmination of fine arts education and training in the University of Maryland Department of Art. This year’s exhibition showcases cutting-edge graduate research that utilizes a myriad of new materials and technologies. It features work by three Department of Art MFA candidates: Beki Basch, Jessica van Brakle, and Hugh Bryant.

“There are many exciting things to look forward to on our exhibition docket,” says University of Maryland Art Gallery associate director Taras W. Matla. “But it is the MFA thesis exhibition that I always look forward to the most. The MFA graduate students always challenge, provoke, and inspire us with new ways of visually engaging with the world.”

The 2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition is organized by the University of Maryland Art Gallery in association with the Department of Art. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, April 25, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland Art Gallery, 2202 Art-Sociology Bldg., College Park, MD 20742. For all general inquiries, please call 301-405-2763 or email Admission is free and open to the public.

Beki Basch uses mixed media to build new narrative spaces from the monomythic and universal qualities that underlie diverse facets of culture. She combines media and formats of specific origin and value to create subtly hybridized visuals. In Paradise Reclaimed, the final stages of the monomyth cycle are examined through autobiography and the experiences of others. It creates a web of connections between Utah, Iceland and Baltimore in order to better understand the ultimate boon.

Basch completed her BFA at The Maryland Institute College of Art (2009) in General Sculpture Studies. She recently completed a residency at SIM in Reykjavik, Iceland and is a 2018 Sondheim semi-finalist. View her projects at

Jessica van Brakle uses drawing, painting, and cut-paper collage to offer a new body of work primarily inspired by water, focusing on its ambiguity and fluidity. A wellspring of resources and renewal, as well as of the life-source itself, water also embodies a place of danger, of possible contamination, and of unfathomable depths. Her work Garden Ghosts explores the fantastical dream-like landscapes of a fallen world, inhabited by post-human hybrids, botanicals, and remnants of the Victorian era.

Van Brakle received her BFA in 2007 from the Corcoran College of Art & Design and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Arlington Arts Center from 2011 through 2015. She is a previous recipient of the Individual Artist Grant for Painting from the Maryland State Arts Council, has received grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was selected in 2010 for a two-year fellowship with Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC. View more of her work at

Hugh Bryant uses sculpture to explore architecture and human landscapes in various forms of construction and destruction. Through play with tension and balance, he examines the interactions between gravity and what he’s constructed, order and the uncontrolled. A Well Within A Sinking Ship gleans forms from imagery involving destructive natural phenomenon, industrial decay, and dilapidation, as well
dystopian science fiction. Using building materials such as steel and concrete, Bryant stitches together mysterious sculptural entities that test structural possibilities.

Bryant received his BFAs in Studio Art and Theatrical Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has worked and exhibited his art at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, MN and most recently participated in the ArtHouse Residency at Salem Art Works in Salem, NY. More information on his work can be found at

University of Maryland Art Gallery is located at 2202 Art-Sociology Bldg., College Park, MD.